About Lazarus Saturday
Today, the Orthodox Church honors Lazarus of Bethany, whom Jesus Christ resurrected. The holiday of Lazarus Saturday is more popularly known as Lazarus Day.
Orthodox celebration of Christ raising Lazarus from the dead. This is the only time the Resurrection liturgy is used on a day other than Sunday. This day is observed eight days before the Orthodox Easter Sunday,
Saint Lazarus, or Lazarus of the Four Days, is venerated in the Eastern Orthodox Church as Righteous Lazarus. Lazarus is the subject of a prominent sign of Jesus in the Gospel of John, in which Jesus restores him to life four days after his death.
In Larnaca, Cyprus, the procession of the Icon of Saint Lazarus take place today. The tomb of Lazarus resides in the Church of Saint Lazarus built by Emperor Leo VI in the ninth century.
According to the Gospel account, Lazarus and his sisters Martha and Mary welcomed Jesus Christ into their home and believed in his mission. While Christ was in the lands beyond the Jordan River, Lazarus fell ill and died. On his return, Jesus resurrected him. The miracle was performed before the eyes of many Jews (the house of Lazarus was full of people, because according to the custom the dead were mourned for seven days) and it became a reason for them to believe in the Messiah:
"Then they took away the stone from the cave where the dead man was lying. And Jesus lifted up his eyes and said: Father, I thank You for listening to Me. And I knew that You always listen to Me; but this I said for the people standing around, so that they will believe that You have sent Me.'' When he had said this, he cried out in a loud voice, 'Lazarus, come out!'
"And the dead man came out with his hands and feet wrapped in burial cloths, and his face was covered with a cloth. Jesus says to them: Unwrap him and let him walk. Then many of the Jews who had come to Mary and saw what Jesus did believe in Him". (Gospel of John 11:41-46)
Traditionally, on Lazarus' Day, green willow branches are plucked, with which the doors are decorated the next day.
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